NEW YORK — On the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks, President Donald Trump did not once mention the terms “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism” during a commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon.
Those phrases were also not mentioned in speeches today by other Trump administration senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including “terrorists who attacked us,” “barbaric forces of evil and destruction,” “horrible, horrible enemies,” “enemies of all civilized people,” and “enemies like we’ve never seen before.”
Similarly, Pence, speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, referred to the scourge as “evil terrorists” and “global terrorism.” Pence did mention “the barbarians known as ISIS,” calling the global jihadist group by its acronym instead of the Islamic State.
Mattis, addressing the same Pentagon memorial as Trump, outwardly minimized the Islamic motivations of the terrorists by calling them “maniacs disguised in false religious garb.” He referred to “attackers perpetrating murder” on that fateful day, not even using the words “terrorist” or “terrorism.”